28 May 2006|
PanicThis third of three consecutive Sundays at the London Palladium which also happened to be the final date of the British leg was arguably the best concert of this portion of the tour. It was particularly amazing how contrasted this one and the first Palladium date were - despite taking place in the same venue with largely the same set-list (with two notable exceptions). From start to finish Morrissey had the audience in the palm of his hand. He was energetic, playful, flirty and genuinely happy. The venue was a seated one, but no one remained seated. The audience loudly and profusely applauded and cheered, the fans were very receptive to every song and bit of banter. There were even two or perhaps even three successful stage invaders, a rare occurrence on this tour.
Of course the surprise and many fans' highlight was with the setlist content. Standard set opener "First Of The Gang To Die" was pushed down one slot to welcome a new opener, the 1986 Smiths single "Panic". The song was seeing its live debut by Morrissey without the Smiths. It had been heard soundchecked before a few recent dates and was finally being debuted. It made sense that Morrissey would start performing this song, at the end of a tour where he often complained about Britain's Radio One and Virgin Radio's reluctance at playing his new singles. The other setlist surprise was the reintroduction of another Smiths-era title, "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before". The song had been performed twice during the American warm up dates at the very beginning of the tour, but then dropped. It was again slotted as the encore. To make way for these, "Still Ill" and "On The Streets I Ran" were axed.
Morrissey was dressed in a tuxedo and bowtie and unlike previous dates, didn't go backstage to change shirts at different points into the show. He stayed on stage for the whole evening until the encore break. When he came on stage, after the customary lining up with his musicians and bowing, he started by singing a few lines from Noel Coward's "If Love We All" ("I believe that since my life began the most I've had is just a talent to amuse") as he had done a few weeks earlier in Manchester. Then the boys ripped straight into "Panic". After a few seconds the audience realised what they were treated to, jumped to their feet (if they weren't already standing) and roared. At the end of the song, after the final "...hang the DJ", Morrissey added "...soon!". He and the band didn't lose any of the momentum gained and thy then went straight into "First Of The Gang To Die".
In the latter number Morrissey added emphasis in a line by singing "You have never been in love I believe until you've seen sunlight thrown..." After the song he replied to someone in the audience "I didn't cope, ever". After "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" he mentioned the end of the tour and thanked the audience, and somehow turned this thanking into an introduction to "In The Future When All's Well": "This, as you probably know, this is the final night of our 30-date tour of the Disunited Kingdom (cheers)... and... (distracted by someone shouting 'get your top off!') Get your what off? And you've all been very loyal and very kind and so forth (more cheers)... and I thank you with all of my (whistle)".
The audience kept cheering very loudly so after "In The Future When All's Well" Morrissey said "Now you're being too kind... there's a very thin line you know..." After "I'll Never Be Anybody's Hero Now" he mentioned some of the heroes who had motivated his choice of venue: "It's very very nailbiting to think that Sacha stood here and to think that Gracie Fields stood over there... as you'll remember... and Burly Chassis came on this way..." ("Burly Chassis" was some British comedy's word-play on Shirley Bassey who used to belt out songs in the 60's at the Palladium). While he said this Morrissey actually mimicked 'Burly Chassis' by making pounding footstep noises but he was again interrupted by the fan shouting for him to 'get your top off!' so Morrissey asked the audience in general: "So is that why you come here really? I always thought you liked the music, but you just want the top off! Shocking Julia, shocking..."
After "Girlfriend In A Coma" and the ecstatic response it received Morrissey said "Steady!" and then proceeded to introduce the band: "I think this will be a very good time for a parade of unrelenting glamour (cheers)... which of course means I will step aside (shouts of no!)... oh see you miss me already!" He then teased the heckler in the audience by repeating after him "Get your kit off!" before leaving the microphone to his musicians. He moved away and sat down on stage. Boz was the first to step up and he shouted "Good evening at the Palladium my name's Boz Boorer and I play guitar! And it's very nice to be here!" Bassist Gary Day followed: "Hello my name's Gareth, it's a privilege to be here, thanks a lot!". Then drummer Matt was shyly brief: "Good evening, Matt Walker, thank you!". Jesse introduced himself in Spanish and got the biggest cheers of all: "Hola senores y senoras me llama...". Finally synth player Michael said: "Good evening I'm Michael Kevin Farrell, it's a pleasure to be here and thank you to all the fans". Morrissey then returned to the microphone and joked "Very painful!" before going into the next song.
At this point in time Morrissey improvised many live changes in "You Have Killed Me". On this date he took the usual change "Anna Magnani you'll be" a bit further and sang "Anna Magnani I wish you'd be!" He also sang "Til you came with the key and you did okay but..." After the song he had his usual nod to the opening act. As this was the final date of the leg, he also thanked the other bands who opened for him earlier: "I would also, if nobody objects, I would like to extend thanks to Kristeen Young (cheers)... for helping us with these dates, and also to Tiger Army and to Sons And Daughters, further back, further along the lines... but most of all, for outstanding courage, against a host of disabilities I would like to thank... me." While the fans were laughing he followed this by shaking his right hand with his left and kissing his hands.
After "To Me You Are A Work Of Art" Morrissey teased the audience by asking "Is my dickie still straight?" while pointing at his bowtie. Then to someone shouting in the audience he said "weird voice!". To someone else shouting "I love you Morrissey!" he replied "We don't want to discuss that now..." The customary nod to his most faithful fan came after "I Will See You In Far Off Places": "I would also if nobody minds I would like to say thank you to Julia who, every single night, no matter where we are, is always in the front row... thank you Julia..." He then immediately moved on to a subject close to his heart: "...and I'm just sorry that the press is always crap and the radio is always crap... but that's the British way! If you're meaningless they praise you, if you have meaning they hate you... so obviously I'm praised!".
As a transition between "I Just Want To See The Boy Happy" and "Ganglord", Morrissey announced in between them: "We will appear on good old fashioned British telly in a couple of days and sing that song... but not this one". In "Ganglord" Morrissey changed a line to "Get your fat ass back in the ghetto". After the song he had to specify "The ghetto in question being of course Chelsea". Besides the usual live changes in "At Last I Am Born", he slightly changed a line to "At last I am born, I think I'm living the one true free life".
Fans who had been following Morrissey around in person or on the internet were expecting that at the end of "How Soon Is Now?" Morrissey would leave stage for the encore break. He didn't and when he performed the usual encore "Irish Blood, English Heart", they started wondering if there would be no encore, of if Morrissey had another surprise up his sleeve. Would he do fan favourites "Still Ill" or "Trouble Loves Me"? Or something completely new? When Morrissey returned to the stage after a short break he and his band got into a line, arms around each other, and bowed. Then as his musicians took their place, Morrissey said "From the very very bottom... of my bottom, thank you!" before going into the surprise encore of "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before".
The audio was ripped from this video recording and is circulated on the internet. Some rips feature the full filmed set, others lack the incomplete "At Last I Am Born", "Life In A Pigsty" as well as "Irish Blood, English Heart".
Audio-only audience recordings must be out there but not yet circulated because orphan files were put up for download in the days following the concert. These are different to the audio from the video footage. One bass-heavy recording supplied "Panic" and "First Of The Gang To Die" in one file. Excellent recordings of "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and "Panic" are also out there, they may or may not be both from the same source. One of these recordings may be the 'Ganglord version' that has been reported.
Do you have information about this concert? Or do you own an uncirculated recording of it? If yes please contribute and get credited.